Teardrop (Teardrop #1) by Lauren Kate
I bought this book for myself for my Christmas stocking. It looked kind of interesting -- a book about a girl who is forbidden to cry. I wonder if it will be as interesting as it looks.
My first reading went very quickly. The book opens with a prologue featuring Ander, whom the liner hints will be the romantic lead, waiting for a wave that is intended to kill the protagonist, Eureka, and her mother, Diana. One of the strengths of this part is that he straight up tells us that he's been stalking her. That was actually kind of refreshing.
After the prologue we are dropped right into the post-wave life of Eureka Boudreaux. Rather than going through an infodump, Kate decides to dole out the details of Eureka's life as the story progresses. We slowly learn that Eureka grew up in New Iberia, Louisiana, but now she lives in Lafayette, and that she has post-traumatic psychological problems stemming from her mother's death. Eureka lost most of her friends after a suicide attempt led her to spend several weeks in a mental hospital.
This piecemeal approach to revealing the backstory makes it seem somewhat more natural than "This is Eureka Boudreaux. She is the daughter of Trenton Boudreaux and Diana, an archaeologist . . . " The downside of this approach, however, is that I actually had to stop and walk through a couple of the details when they were revealed.
As this is a supernatural romance book, as soon as Eureka meets Ander, she is instantly drawn to him. This is a fairly typical romance (and particularly supernatural romance) trope, but can be destructive when practiced in real life. For once, however, the characters seem to realize that this is unhealthy. Eureka keeps thinking that she shouldn't do the things she's doing and feeling the way she's feeling. She even goes to the police at one point to have Ander investigated, only to have two menacing characters show up during her discussion with the officer. Eureka also suffers from a variety of psychological ailments. She has been repressing her sadness for nine years; when she was eight her mother told her that she was not allowed to cry. That's got to mess someone up. On top of that, her mother's death has lumped more problems on top of that repression, including post-traumatic stress, depression, and survivor's guilt. That actually, aside from the supernatural angle, makes what she's doing make some sort of sense. As this is the first book in a trilogy, hopefully she will heal enough, and Ander and she will have enough meaningful conversations, that their relationship won't seem too terribly dysfunctional by the end of the series.
As to the plot, somewhere around four months after Diana's death, they read her will. Diana left things to each of her siblings and to her daughter. Eureka's bequest is a locket that won't open, a fancy box containing a stone of some sort wrapped in gauze, a book that is written in a language that is not English, and a letter. Cat has been seeing a language major from the local college who directs Eureka to Madame Blavatsky, a local fortune teller who is also a languages expert. Madame Blavatsky begins to translate the book and one line in that book, called "The Book of Love," is what I suspect will be the most important line in this series.
The book that Eureka inherits from her mother is the tale of Selene, who found herself engaged to the King of Atlantis, whom she had only just met. Selene then finds love somewhere else. Selene and her new love, Leander, seek to escape from her fiancé. In what I thought was an interesting approach, we don't find out a whole lot more about the story in the book besides that. Blavatsky continues to translate, but we never get to hear them discuss it or read much more of her translation. I hope that was a stylistic choice on the part of Kate and not an oversight.
"Teardrop" could probably have used one more lookover from the editor, as I found a few things that should probably have been fixed. The harvest party that one of the students gives, which is generally called the "Maze Daze" becomes, inexplicably, the "Fall Sprawl" at one point. Also, the author explains who Eureka's next-door-neighbor is at least two times, and I think it may have been three. Yes, Eureka, I remember Mrs. LeBlanc from the first time you mentioned her.
Overall, though, I liked this book. I found the plot to be as interesting as I had hoped, and Eureka's awareness of the potential dysfunction of her relationship with Ander is a definite departure from some teen romances I have read (and also from some that I have avoided). This is, of course, the first book in a trilogy and "Teardrop" ends on a cliffhanger ending which leaves me definitely looking forward to the next book in the series.